Woman returns library book… which she borrowed in 1978 (and thankfully avoids a hefty fine)
- A book about Lord of The Rings author JRR Tolkien was 45 years overdue
- Blackpool Central Library reassured the woman she will not be facing a fine
A long lost library book about Lord of The Rings author JRR Tolkien has been finally returned to the shelves… 45 years overdue.
An anxious book-lover in Blackpool originally borrowed ‘Tolkien’s World’, a publication about the famed fantasy novelist, in March 1978 on what was meant to be just a three-week loan.
But it became lost among the clutter of her home in the Lancashire seaside town, and it resurfaced while the woman was having a clear-out.
She shocked staff at the town’s library when she apologetically returned it ‘a bit late’ last week, more than four decades after it was supposed to be brought back.
Date stamps in the book, which is by US professor of English literature and Tolkien expert Randel Helms, show it was due back on March 13, 1978.
A long lost library book all about Lord of The Rings author JRR Tolkien has finally been returned to the shelves 45 years overdue
The date stamps in the book ‘Tolkien’s World’, by US professor of English literature and Tolkien expert Randel Helms, show it was due back on March 13, 1978
Despite the extraordinarily length of time that has passed, staff at Blackpool Central Library reassured the woman she would not be fined, as it had stopped charging users for overdue books back in April 2019.
Fiona Davies, who works at Blackpool Central Library, said the woman had sheepishly apologised for it being ‘a bit late’.
She said: ‘I was shocked to see the date.. I was still at primary school then.
‘The lady returned the book and said ‘sorry, it’s a bit late’ and I said it’s a good job we don’t have fines anymore.’
The woman worked in nearby Woolworth’s and would regularly visit the library for ‘a stack of books’ on her lunchbreak, Ms Davies said.
She added: ‘When Woollies closed, she brought them all back – or so she thought. But while doing some sorting recently she found it hiding!’
Years ago there were fines of 1p per day for overdue books but libraries in the town stopped charging fines in April 2019.
Posting on Facebook, library staff said: ‘Could this be our longest overdue book to be returned to the library… 45 years late!?’
The book was written about famed fantasy author JRR Tolkien, pictured here in 1967
Referencing the library’s children’s story time hand puppet turtle mascot ‘Tobias’ they went on to add: ‘Tobias was extremely excited, you see, he remembers the 70’s well – he was a flare wearing, disco diva back in his heyday!
‘Of course, we don’t fine customers for late books at Blackpool Libraries, even if it’s been decades so please rest assured, if you’ve been avoiding us because you lost a book back in 1976, we’re not scary and you’re not in trouble, we promise!
‘The lady who brought it back used to work in Woolworth’s in town, and would pop into the library during her lunchbreak to get a stack of books.
‘When Woollies closed, she brought them all back (or so she thought) but whilst doing some sorting recently, she found it hiding!
‘So, a big thank you for bringing it back to the library, it certainly brightened up Tobias’ and our day!’
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